antique textiles

Historical Knitting to Float Your Boat

‘The Knitter’, issue 121.

In the shops now, ‘The Knitter’ 121, with a piece I wrote recently, about the history of knitting as reflected in marine archaeology.

I went in search of knitting from shipwrecks.  And found some great history, from the ‘Mary Rose’ to the more recent, and spectacular, Palmwood finds in the Netherlands. Via, of course, the wreck of ‘The General Carleton’ and a few others.

The knitted silk stockings from the Palmwood were found alongside an intact, 17thC silk gown and a leather book cover embossed with the arms of Charles I. I’d rate them as the most interesting knitted find, in archaeology, in a long, long time.  The Textile Research Centre in Leiden has been crowdfunding a project to reconstruct the stockings, although it’s not for the faint hearted as they are trialling the knitting of filament silk on 0.7mm needles. The Textile Research Centre is worth supporting, so they can continue to do this valuable work to reconstruct what is likely to be a unique, possibly English, 17thC pair of stockings.

For more info, about knitting from shipwrecks,  check out our piece in ‘The Knitter’ 121 and the links below to the fantastic project to reconstruct a spectacular piece of work.

Le Griffon, 1697, By Father Louis Hennepin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Museum of Kaap Skil

TRC Reconstruction Project

Crowdfunding the reconstruction


2 replies on “Historical Knitting to Float Your Boat”

Once again I’m on the wrong side of the pond to participate. Is there any hint as to what gauge the stockings were knit at? I’ve done stranded knitting with silk on 1.2 mm at 19.5 stitches to the inch, and am curious what gauge they’re hoping to get on 0.7 mms.


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